You're busy and only have time for so many murders per week. So which TV procedurals are actually worth your time? We consulted the plot descriptions for this week's grisliest dramas and, below, offer our best advice on how to manage your viewing schedule.
Body of Proof (ABC), “Cold Blooded” (Tuesday at 10 p.m.)
“When the owner of a family-owned and -operated Italian restaurant turns up dead in the freezer, Dr. Hunt and the team take a closer look into family matters.”
The problem here is that years of Law & Order have trained the average procedural viewer to expect a brilliant, pun-oriented crack at the sight of a frozen body, but it's unclear if B.O.P. can deliver on a Briscoe-esque level of gallows humor. “Freezer burn.” “Looks like he wanted to save some for later.” “Talk about getting iced.” That kind of thing.
Hawaii Five-O (CBS), “I Helu Pu” (Monday at 10 p.m.)
“When Five-0 nearly causes an international incident while on a case, Lt. Governor Denning tells them one of the team members will pay for it with their job.”
So one of the lesser cast members booked the lead in a weepy indie drama and now the show has to contrive a way to get him/her off the scene? People: Please don’t sully the sanctity of Hawaii Five-O with the messy details of your professional lives.
Blue Bloods (CBS), “The Ripple Effect” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“When a man's family is robbed and beaten in front of him, and the assailant is shot and killed, the Reagans debate about how far they would go to protect their family. Meanwhile, when a college student is arrested at a rally, Frank wrestles with her sentence due to her identity.”
Wait, what? A debate about the righteousness of violence? An honest examination of the values and messages being propagated by procedurals and their bloody ilk? This goes against the whole spirit of the operation!
CSI (CBS), “Seeing Red” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“Russell asks for advice from a former colleague on a case involving the death of a man's ex-girlfriend. Elisabeth Shue makes her series debut as new CSI Julie Finlay.”
A steady gig on a highly rated CBS show? Friends of Elisabeth Shue: Now would probably be a good time to hit her up for money.
The Mentalist (CBS), “War of the Roses” (Thursday at 10 p.m.)
“When a charity worker is killed, Jane has Erica Flynn, a murderer he helped imprison, furloughed in exchange for information she claims to have about the case. Meanwhile, Rigsby and Sarah try to adjust to impending parenthood. Morena Baccarin reprises her role as Erica Flynn.”
Morena “Brody’s wife on Homeland” Baccarin as a stone-cold killer with a Hannibal Lecter-style informant setup? This could definitely work.
NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), “Crimeleon” (Tuesday at 10 p.m.)
“With Assistant Director Granger critiquing every move, the NCIS team must track down a chameleon-like killer who has evaded law enforcement agents, including their very own Special Agent G. Callen, across several countries.”
A "chameleon-like killer"! A man of international mystique and suavity who murders and maims and then sheds personae with all the ease of a chameleon! Points deducted, though, because there’s almost no way LL actually refers to this guy as a "crimeleon" on the show.
Criminal Minds (CBS), “Closing Time” (Wednesday at 8 p.m.)
“The BAU team hit choppy waters on the beaches of Southern California when they discover a series of bodies hidden in lifeguard towers along the coast.”
Sometimes, it’s about quantity over quality. Blunt, horrid, waterlogged quantity.
NCIS (CBS), “Secrets” (Tuesday at 8 p.m.)
“When a Navy captain is found dead with an unusual costume hidden under his uniform, NCIS uncovers a secret society of real-life super heroes and must track down the villain.”
Started reading secret society, immediately started imagining that scene from The Social Network with the final clubs rager. Oh well. Real-life superheroes are pretty cool, too, I guess.
Law & Order: SVU (NBC), “Home Invasions” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“A gunman storms a family's home, killing the parents and leaving their teenage daughter in critical condition. When a hate crime investigation turns into a dead end, Benson and the SVU detectives struggle to find a motive for such violence. The clues lead to a surprising revelation about Detective Rollins, which threatens her future in the Special Victims Unit.”
OK, this is really intense. Most likely the secret is that Rollins herself was a victim of a home invasion, and therefore may not be emotionally equipped to handle working on such cases. But if the secret is that, in her spare time, Rollins likes to go around doing home invasions … well, then Ice-T is going to be pissed.
CSI: Miami (CBS), “Last Straw” (Sunday at 10 p.m.)
“When the sisters of a Miami sorority are knocked off one by one, the CSIs try to end the murder spree.”
Sorority girls getting iced? Yes. Of course. They have launched whole slasher franchises on lesser premises than this.